“When you are jobless you are never more purposeful yet incapable” Phil Swift, 2011
Nothing like a thorough buttering up of one’s own ego by starting a piece with a quote from thineself; Crumpets anyone? Just wipe them along me. And yet, in today’s bat race with record joblessnessness (2.57 million between June & August according to The Guardian) nobody else will oblige you with encouragement except a former B&Q Floor Manager & security doorman at your local Ingeus (ok fine just mine then).
Trouble is you’re pulling & being pulled in so many alternating directions as to how to best use your time thus it never becomes free (time) in your mind. I doubt this would apply to the majority of unemployed but out of work I feel just as imprisoned as when serving time on the inside of some office heckle hole: a slave to the excesses of your own imaginative pursuit of hobbies/dreams/accomplishments.
I have discussed this with a few friends and we have always come to the same conclusion. Even for only 10 minutes every other Tuesday, the Jobcentre instils enough fear into the hearts of decent menfolk made to feel worthless that they swear to themselves to find something in time never to return like a crack junkie to his soiled mattress. A disturbing vision of what can happen over time without reassurance or non-polyester based clothing allowance (other than the obvious fire risk). I sometimes enjoy dressing smartly as if for a job interview to readdress the balance not so they might mistake me for someone who works there or actually has an interview but to alter their expectations of what any self-respecting unsporting charity shop lurking Iceland pizza chomping modern-day chap can achieve on £68.
It doesn’t help matters that my job adviser also has the same name as my 10 month old niece which can be somewhat confusing in terms of our relationship and my language with her. Describing my job search methods in babytalk doesn’t seem to swing it and rubbing noses gleefully only confirmed her worries upon referral.
Do I learn Spanish? Well too late I already started. Te puede ser util! Tambien puedes ver la tele pero no comprendo Jeremy Kyle cuando mucha gente sufre. Do I write about how many decent festivities are on during October which we’re somehow already through??? Or in a third party system: Do I make myself a midnight club sandwich to rival the height & dexterity of the Chicago Skyline? Only club that ever let me join. Ah well at least i learned to drive & they can’t take that away from me (for now as i haven’t even received my license yet: apparently points DON’T win prizes).
I think Stevie said it best on Living For The City; ‘to find a job is like a haystack needle ‘cause where he lives they don’t use coloured people’; killer lyric which addresses themes of inequality and racial prejudice in New York’s employment sector circa 1970. In my scenario of course the ‘coloured’ would be replaced with ‘principled’ although ironically haybaling is something I’d be perfectly happy doing. Lest not forgot the only factor to apply to the equation is that I am considerably more fortunate than a boy born in hard time Mississippi. Thus Stevie’s words whilst being funky & subtle socio-political commentary sadly do not aid my cause.
I have more to say on this subject so as a thread to post any thoughts I wish to leave the backdoor porchlight on. I’ll close with one of those supposedly inspiring wall posters that quote the great success of a man who died last month after telling his closest trustees virtually naff-all about how to continue his great legacy of unfinished work…a bit like Lenin on his deathbed or Michael Jackson with his freakfest of a family: